“From here on in I will no longer sell myself short with negative self-talk. I will not underestimate my abilities. I will continue to train hard some days, run for fun other days and always trust in my progress.”
This is a quote from the end of my post last year on this exact same race. I ran the Jones 10 Miler again this year on Sunday, 2/23 and had a completely different experience than last year. This race figured in nicely with my marathon training so I registered for it a few weeks ago. Suffice it to say had I taken the advice I wrote in last year’s post I may not have tormented myself on race day.
I started this blog to talk about running and inevitably it has at times been a place where I discuss weight loss, body image and my longtime struggle with both of these issues. Oh how I wish I could say the struggle is over, done with! I wish I could write right now that I’m in love with my body, I feel amazing, and when I look in the mirror I see a beautiful person.
Getting dressed for the race, I felt heavy, my legs seemed infinitely larger and I was immediately uncomfortable in my body. My running pants are all basically the same so instead I tried on numerous tops trying to “feel” smaller or look lighter. Eventually I gave up, threw on something comfortable that I’m used to running in and headed out the door.
I stood at the starting line that morning feeling a myriad of things, namely fat, lonely and pessimistic about the race. There were numerous running clubs around me. Everyone’s shirt seemed to match someone else’s shirt. It was honestly the first time I felt really alone at a race. I have always run alone, but I think more and more I am beginning to wonder what it would be like to run with others, to have a sense of camaraderie and the support of a group of like-minded people.
I resigned myself early on to running the 10 miles without worrying about time. I was fairly confident that I could run at least the same pace I ran last year if not slightly better, but I grew angry at myself because I didn’t feel that I could run it as comfortably thanks to the few pounds that I have put back on. I berated myself silently for smearing too much peanut butter on my traditional pre- long run banana suddenly feeling it deep in my stomach. As I obsessed about this minutiae the horn sounded and we were starting to run.
If you read my post from last year you will read about the challenging course. It was altered slightly this year, but really only the starting and finishing points. The race in between was the same uphill battle it has been for many years. At least the weather cooperated. Despite a chance of rain the course stayed dry and overcast with temps in the high 30s/low 40s. It was perfect running weather.
The hills came and went. I pushed myself up each one. They were difficult, but they were just hills. I run hills all the time. Sure I thought about how much easier they would be with less weight, but I pushed on. My mind worked much harder than my legs during this race. I vacillated between negative self-talk to making plans of action. My lips quivered at times as I brushed back tears from my eyes.
As I neared the 5 mile mark I could see the time clock up ahead. After a little mental math I realized I was running on par with my recent training paces. I was poised to come in slightly ahead of last year’s time. This put a little spring in my step and lifted some of the heaviness off of my shoulders. My internal talk shifted to a more understanding, more empathetic conversation, but deep down I could not shake the negativity. I plodded along totally alone for most of the race
I finished the race with little fanfare. I literally crossed the finish line and continued jogging to my car. Carlos had soccer practice and skating practice so Orlando took him while I ran. This is not a big spectator race so there were few people at the finish line. My official time was 1:34:55 almost a minute off last year’s time of 1:35:54.
Ironically as I revisited my post from last year I also looked back where I used to track my weight and noticed that I was actually almost exactly the same weight a year ago. Weight loss is only one piece of this puzzle. Self-acceptance is another.
This was a tough post to write because it is a departure from my typical upbeat, excited race recaps. In many ways this race was a turning point for me and revisiting last year’s post was eye opening. I have some big spring running plans including another marathon. I have some lofty running goals this year. I’m working hard to shed those extra pounds and lose the last 10-15 pounds.
As I mentioned yesterday I’m also taking part in the Love Your Body Challenge by Molly Galbraith. Day 1 (check out the post if you have time. It shares the stories of real women coming to terms with their bodies.) is today for me. The Action Step for the day called for doing something nice for yourself while repeating the mantra: ”My body is my home. It’s the ONLY place I have to live. I will treat it with the care and respect it deserves.”
I did a little root touch up on my hair to tide me over until my salon appointment and I applied a banana coconut deep conditioning hair masque after the color. I love when my hair feels soft and the gray is hidden. As for the mantra, well I like the sentiment, but I forgot to repeat it over and over. I remember hearing something similar years ago from Madonna when she was getting into Kabbalah, yoga and other spiritual practices, but it struck a chord then though I couldn’t quite seem to put it into practice. It’s so true though. Our body is our temple. Why then do I mistreat such a sacred place, my sacred place?